“Targeted Transferrin Transport Technology”
The Company has developed a strategy to increase the efficacy and lessen the toxicity of cancer chemotherapy by binding heavy metals and coupling chemotherapeutic drugs to the serum protein transferrin. Transferrin is the serum protein that transports iron to sites of absorption, utilization and storage. Iron is an essential micronutrient for DNA synthesis, and all cancer cells require very large amounts of iron for DNA synthesis and rapid cell growth. Cancer cells express 100 to 1,000-fold greater numbers of transferrin receptors on their cell surface than normal cells.
Therefore, with our transferrin transport technology (TTT), we can deliver cytotoxic agents targeted selectively to the cancer cell, and thus, have little effect on normal cells.
Our transferrin compounds are of three types:
- Heavy metals bound to the physiologic binding sites of the transferrin molecule
- Drugs conjugated to the molecule by a gluteraldehyde coupling process.
- Drugs trapped in protein molecules.
These agents alone and in combination with other cancer therapies, demonstrate tremendous cancer cell killing with little effect on normal cells. They have been shown to potentiate the effect and lessen the toxicity of conventional chemotherapy if given as pretreatment prior to the chemotherapy. One of the compounds (cis-platinum-transferrin) has been shown to be an especially good radiation sensitizer, and potentiate the effects of doxorubucin when used as a pretreatment agent.
The Company is also involved in attacking iron metabolism of cancer cells by many other approaches. We disrupt intracellular iron metabolic pathways and prevent iron storage into the protein ferritin. We have technology to modulate transferrin receptors on the surface of cancer cells, which gives us much flexibility in using all of our approaches. Some of the intracellular methods use our antisense technology, which will be discussed in the section on antisense.